If you are one with your ear to the ground, I’m sure you have a pulse already on what is transforming instruction in education. As a classroom teacher, I thought I did too. But since changing my job to Instructional Technology, I have had the opportunity to work with educators in varying districts. I have also had the opportunity to expand my understanding by attending more tech conferences. These new experiences have given me a better outlook on what edtech trends are truly shaping education, whereas my prior knowledge mainly came from Twitter.
I’m almost hesitant to use the word “trend” in this post, because that usually implies something that comes and goes like the latest one-hit-wonder on the radio. But I don’t know what else to call it. They are happening right now, but I guess we can’t say they are here to stay without some long-term proof (I’m looking at you, electronic classroom clickers). But there are some trends that have certainly made some noise in the last few years, and I predict will only continue to change the classroom instructional landscape. So even though these may not be the most cutting edge, teachers who have not caught on need to be made aware that these trends are not fading any time soon, and resistance is futile.
1. Flipped/Blended Learning
I know, Flipped Learning is nothing really “new” in education. Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams got the fire going in 2007, but now I’m starting to see more implementation of it in 2014. More than ever teachers are asking about it and wanting to know how to adapt it to their classrooms. This is a method that incorporates technology in order to really change the format and instruction inside the classroom. Want to know more? Go here. Want to learn how to start doing it? Go here. Which leads me to the next trend on the list…
The use of an LMS (or Learning Management System) was first used for pure online distance learning. It was the central hub where students could go to access class content 24/7. A place where they could build a community of learning by sharing resources and ideas. Those LMS’s where usually a little cumbersome and difficult to navigate. Now, more and more teachers are adopting MUCH easier LMS’s such as Edmodo, Schoology, and even Google Classroom. Students have busy lives and sometimes have to miss school. And I don’t know a teacher that enjoys getting the “What did I miss?” question every class period. Teachers are starting to see the real impact of being able to put their content online. For some, that’s the gateway to using the built discussion forums, assessment tools, and badging. Gradually, the teacher creates an instructional environment that looks more “blended” than traditional.
3. Wireless Projecting
The concept of a school going 1:1 is still slowly spreading to districts all over. But something that just started to form in the last few years is the ability to wirelessly project. If you have an Apple device, this is called AirPlay. If you have a Chromebook or Android device, this is called Google Casting. To learn how to do this click HERE (Apple Devices) or HERE (Chromebooks). Why is this instructionally changing? Teachers are now taking themselves away from the front of the classroom and allowing the content to take center stage. This allows more emphasis to be put on the learning, not the “do as I say” traditional way of instructing.
4. Augmented Reality
This seems like something in the distant future, but there are teachers incorporating this right now – teachers like Jason Rude (@PyroRude). You know all of those posters that you have hanging around your room? Some might be informational, some might be there to make the room not so dull. But now imagine those posters, pictures, signs, etc. are interactive. With AR (augmented reality) programs such as Layar teachers can take those 2D objects and make them much more interactive than QR codes (a trend that will eventually fade due to AR). Imagine students opening their Layer app and being able to do THIS with those boring posters. Your classroom is now an immersive interactive space that students can utilize more for content specific activities.
5. Google Apps
Google Apps have been around for a handful of years, but look how far they have come. They truly changed the landscape of instruction in a classroom. I still remember where I was when I first saw that I could type on the same document as someone else in real time. AND IT SAVES AS YOU TYPE!? I’m pretty sure I fainted…but I don’t remember. Google Docs truly brought new meaning to “collaborative writing.” Then Google Sheets, Slides, Drive, etc. Soon after the mobile world wanted them, and they got them. You want to collaborate on a Google Doc on your iPad and leave comments within the doc? Yeah, you can do that. You name the Google app of your choice, and teachers have been using it in their classrooms. But this is something that I am STILL seeing grow with teachers. Every month, more and more schools adopt Google as their school domain. This has forever changed the distribution, collection, assessment, collaboration and feedback of student learning…and will only continue to do so in the future.
There you have it, the five edtech trends that are changing instruction for the long-term. Did I leave out any? What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments below.